To control the threats from external forces, pipeline owners and operators require detailed information about their pipeline infrastructure and the environment surrounding that infrastructure. The contribution from geographic data is recognized as an increasingly important part of a complete integrity management program, particularly for the identification of geohazards. This is because geohazards are generally characterized by high spatial variability, are complex and difficult to quantify but may result in catastrophic failure of pipelines.
In recent years we have seen widespread technological development surrounding the processes to capture information in order to deliver quantitative inputs for pipeline engineers, risk & geotechnical experts. International codes & best practices (e.g. AS 2885.1-2012) state that “Environmental impact assessment is not simply a vehicle to obtain regulatory approval, it is a critical element of the planning for design, construction and operation of the pipeline.” Furthermore, geohazards frequently develop during the service life of pipelines. Consequently, regulators recommend that assessments are conducted on an ongoing basis to identify all potential threats and implement mitigation measures.
A process has been developed to create efficient and economical solutions for monitoring and assessing the significance of pipeline bending strain and whether actual movement has taken place. This process can make use of a variety of inputs including slope gradient, climate, groundwater conditions, slope instability, seismic intensity, and environmental impacts, and can provide important information in the determination of potential mitigations. This paper will review the benefits which can be gained from the implementation of integrated approaches to inform geohazard management.